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Forests – Definition, Ecosystem, Types, Importance

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  • Last Updated : 28 Apr, 2022
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Forests are absolutely necessary for human survival. We are all dependent on forests in some way for survival. Forests supply us with clean air, food, medicines, and other resources such as timber, fodder, and other raw materials for industry. Forests help to keep the earth stable by preventing soil erosion.

A forest is a dense land or a complex ecosystem that is rich in biodiversity and supports a wide range of life types. The trees help to keep the environment clean, which benefits the plants and animals that live in the forest. They are a crucial part of the ecosystem because they clean the air, cool it during the day, and act as excellent sound absorbers. They may grow everywhere there is an average temperature of more than 10°C in the warmest month and an annual rainfall of more than 200 mm. India has a long history of traditional forest conservation and management.

Forest Biology

Forest Biology is an interdisciplinary field that includes molecular transmission and population genetics, physical limits of tree height, drought causes, landscape genomics, forest disease and entomology, forest biogeography, and forest ecosystem ecology.

Forest Biodiversity

Forest Biodiversity, sometimes referred to as Forest Biological Diversity, is the study of forest life forms and their ecological functions. The forest is a complex natural habitat system that is home to some of the world’s most diverse biological communities. Forests cover almost 30% of the Earth’s surface, yet they are rapidly vanishing as a result of economic exploitation. Forest biodiversity, according to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), is the outcome of evolutionary processes that happened over thousands and millions of years. This evolutionary process was fueled by ecological variables such as fire, climate, water, temperature, light exposure, and ecological phenomena such as competition and disturbance.

Types of Forest Ecosystem

  1. Temperate Forest Ecosystem
  2. The Tropical Rainforest Ecosystem
  3. Boreal or Taiga Forests

Producers are those that prepare food for the entire forest ecosystem. As a result, trees and plants are referred to as primary producers. Consumers are those who are unable to create their own food and hence rely on producers for food and energy. Primary consumers are organisms that only consume plants. Herbivores, such as deer and rabbits, are key consumers. Carnivores are secondary consumers who prey on herbivores. Those who consume both plants and animals are referred to as Omnivores. 

Decomposers are organisms such as worms, bacteria, fungi, ants, and other bugs that break down plant and animal wastes into microscopic particles that eventually blend with the environment. Humans are omnivores, meaning they eat both flora and fauna, and hence are a part of the forest ecosystem.

Importance of Forest

The forest is extremely important since it provides us with all of the necessary materials for our daily existence. A few of them are listed below. Forests supply us with a variety of products such as firewood, timber, wood pulp, honey, lac, medicinal plants and herbs, raisins, biofertilizers, and so on. Forests also provide us with several types of raw resources for industrial usage, fodder for animal feed, fuel, and fibers. Forests, in addition to these necessary items, play a crucial role in environmental protection by:

  1. Rainfall is being encouraged.
  2. Noise pollution is reduced.
  3. Keeps the environment in balance.
  4. Acts as a windbreak in high winds.
  5. Reduce the temperature by adding moisture.
  6. By delaying the velocity of water, it prevents flash floods.
  7. Preventing soil erosion and protecting soil fertility are two important goals.
  8. Maintains the environment’s carbon dioxide and oxygen balance.
  9. Conserves biodiversity by providing habitat for numerous animals that rely on the forest for existence.

Deforestation

Forests are being destroyed on a regular basis in order to make land available for other uses. Forests are a natural resource supply. Forests have been constantly drained for raw resources since the dawn of modernity. There is also rivalry for food and space as the population grows. This had resulted in widespread forest depletion.

Deforestation has had an impact on the climate and, as a result, human life. There is a scarcity of rain. The resources are likewise fast diminishing and will not be available in the future. The temperature is rapidly rising, causing glaciers to melt and raising water levels. Deforestation causes weather shifts and earthquakes. The soil is firmly held together by the trees. Because of forest depletion, the earth’s grasp is relaxed, resulting in regular earthquakes.

Sample Problems

Question 1: Differentiate between flora and fauna?

Answer:

Flora refers to the flora of a specific place or time period. Animal species are referred to as fauna.

Question 2: When the vegetation changes, so does the animal life. How?

Answer:

This is due to the fact that plants occur in diverse groupings of communities in locations with similar climatic conditions. To a considerable extent, the nature of the plants in an area determines the animal life in that area. In their physical environment, all plants and animals in a given area are interdependent and interconnected. As a result, when the vegetation changes, so does the animal life.

Question 3: What is a biome?

Answer:

A biome is a huge terrestrial ecosystem with diverse types of flora and animal life.

Question 4: What impact do humans have on a region’s ecology?

Answer:

Humans make use of the vegetation and wildlife. They take down forests for their own advantage and slaughter animals for a variety of reasons. The ecological balance has been upset.

Question 5: Name three common animals found in India’s thorn woods and mangrove forests.

Answer:

The most prevalent creatures in the thorn forest are wild asses, camels, and horses. Tigers, crocodiles, and gharials can be found in coastal areas where there are mangrove forests.

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